Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, April 14, 2023

Coastal Sand Dune Restoration with Nature Conservancy Canada, April 14, 2023

The Greater Victoria Green Team engaged 11 community members at a rare coastal sand dune habitat off the Saanich Peninsula! We removed lots of European Beachgrass that had overgrown the natural sand dune, preventing native species from growing there. This habitat is rare, with many at-risk species present, so removing invasive species is very important work! The at-risk species in this habitat include Contorted-Pod Evening Primrose, Yellow Sand-Verbena, Howell’s Triteleia, and Black Knotweed. More common native sand dune species include Dunegrass and Large-headed Sedge.

Coastal sand ecosystems are incredibly unique habitats on South Vancouver Island! Generally speaking, in order for a coastal sand dune to exist, there needs to be a source of sand, or shelter from intense winds and waves. Very often, you will get a hill or cliff face that is slowly eroding and dropping sediment into the ocean. Ocean currents then carry the sand up the shoreline and deposit it on the beach. This renews the sand on the beach even when strong winds wash it away, as more sand will replace it. A great example of this system in Greater Victoria is Island View Beach and Cordova Spit. Sand is dropped from the cliffs at the south end of the beach and carried along the shoreline, landing on the beach and forming the sandspit at the north end. These unique conditions prompt unique species to adapt—this is why there are so many rare and endangered species associated with coastal sand ecosystems!

This was our first of four sessions restoring the site this month! We visited this site ten times last year and are continuing this important restoration work along the coastline. Thank you to everyone who participated throughout the month to help improve this coastal sand dune ecosystem!!


Thank you to our community members for participating: Kate, Roy, Wendy, Sue, Becca, Annie, Evelyn, Melissa, Marianne, Caitlin, and Dylan!

Thank-you very much to The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for partnering with us and contributing to our Green Team activities and for recognizing the importance of of investing in your community members and green spaces!


  • In total 11 community members volunteered and contributed 69 volunteer hours!
  • 4 volunteers were introduced to the this site, and 1 was introduced to removing invasive species!
  • We removed 1.5 cubic metres of invasive beachgrass
  • We revitalized 165 square metres of sand dune habitat!
  • We picked up a variety of litter on the beach as we moved through the site
  • A seal swam by us while we worked along the beach, and we observed many species of birds throughout the day

Before and After Photos from our work session on April 14

This activity not only benefitted the environment, but also the participants themselves. By being out in nature doing something positive as a team, our community members:

  • Develop a sense of belonging to community and place
  • Have improved mental and physical health
  • Connect to nature, which leads to environmentally responsible behaviour
  • Learn about local environmental issues and actions they can take
  • Learn the value of bringing together people to work towards a common goal
  • Become leaders in their communities
  • Increase confidence, resilience and perseverance

Action Shots

We found a variety of items that did not belong on the beach!

Styrofoam pieces, old fishing gear, shotgun shells, and other pieces of plastic were found along the beach and removed throughout the day!

We were very careful not to disturb a number of native plants on the beach, including yellow sand-verbena (pictured above), contorted-pod evening-primrose, black knotweed, and Howell’s triteleia

We were also fortunate to see the small-flowered blue-eyed mary plant (to the right) which is a vibrantly coloured native flowering plant growing along the beach.

Volunteer Testimonials

I enjoyed the small sized group, we worked well together. Also, the view was pretty awesome while we worked. I feel that I am able to make a difference and that I am part of a larger community of people who care about the natural world like I do. THANK YOU! Such a great experience today!


Thank you Graig for helping us get to the precise work site! We had a lot of fun travelling together!

Thank you to LUSH and Ola Bamboo for Donating In-Kind Rewards to our Hard Working Community Members!

If you have a business that is sustainable and eco-friendly, and you would like to donate in-kind to our Green Team, please contact Kaitlin by email:

This activity was run by our Program Manager, Kaitlin Warren, and Program Coordinator, Maria Varem. Kaitlin and Maria were both hired through Green Team of Canada’s Youth Leadership Program and have been learning about environmental community organizing through meaningful work experience.

Share this Post!